Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fort Worth YSA Conference

AKA: More than a thousand single (or at least not married yet) Mormons ranging from ages 18 to 30 all in one building.

Last weekend I attended what we LDS folks call a multi-regional young single adult (YSA) conference. For those who aren’t in the know, basically all the Mormon YSAs in a particular region all meet and do service projects, have activities, attend classes/workshops, and eat over the period of a weekend. This is fun and a great way to meet people and see old friends. This time around, however, we were having a very important member of our Church come to speak to us at the end of the conference: President Uchtdorf, a member of the First Presidency and an apostle. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, it’s basically like having the secretary of state come and speak. What this means is that EVERYONE wants to be there and come hear him speak. This is both good and bad: Good that we get to hear someone who is closer to the Lord than most of us, and bad in that there is going to be so many people in attendance that it’ll be really hard to actually meet new people.

On with the story: While Fort Worth is only an hour to an hour and a half away, my friends and I didn’t want to be driving back and forth Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. So, instead, we got 2 rooms at a hotel 15 minutes away from the stake center for the weekend. I was joking with a few friends that for all the money I’m spending on gas and a hotel, I better have a boyfriend (ok maybe a date) by the end of the weekend. Realizing that was quite the unrealistic goal, I amended my statement: I at least want a better sense of self and some new friends.

Well, I was right, I didn’t get a boyfriend or a date (not even a number), but I did achieve my more realistic goal. Here’s what I got:
1. I don’t like an activity with no structure like when it’s “here’s some stuff, do whatever you want.”
2. Getting footballs thrown towards me, more specifically my face, is not a pleasant experience, and I cringed every time.
3. Yes, I did meet a few people (yes, guys too, Mom), and they were nice. But, again, I didn’t really see them again after we met because there were so many people.
4. I cannot tie a cute bow for a hair band to save my life. I tried, several times; it’s impossible.
5. Recycling greeting cards (cutting up old ones to make new ones) was fun, especially with all the old wedding announcements we could mock. Not sure who would actually use the cards we made out of them though.
6. Apparently, you can’t die filthy rich and get into Heaven (cause you can’t be filthy in Heaven). But, you can, however, be wealthy and get in (new life goal now set).
7. I loved this quote, used in one of the workshops, by C.S. Lewis: “I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time—waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God—it changes me.”
8. It really bugged me when people said they came from far off places for the conference (like Alaska, Hawaii, etc.). I’m sorry you did not travel all the way from “Sai Pei (it’s next to Guam)” just for the conference. You’re at school at U.T. You are here from U.T., honey.
9. Dancing in a room with 1000 other sweaty people squeezing in next to you is not always fun.
10. I do not want to be proposed to by a DJ request in a room with 1000 strangers at a YSA conference dance. (Yeah, it did in fact happen to someone else there.)
11. Sometimes sitting on a hard metal chair for 5 hours is worth the pain in your buttocks.
12. Sister Uchtdorf, President Uchtdorf’s wife, is hilarious and so cute! She told all of us we need to be getting emails at this conference, “Don’t twitter, just email.”
13. On a more spiritual note, she also told us about this statue in which it was Christ but without hands. On the statue, it said, “You are my hands.”
14. President Uchtdorf covered A LOT of things and topics in his talk at the fireside. What stood out most to me that he said was the following 3 things: (1) Instead of looking for the right one (when it comes to a spouse), we need to be the right one because when we try to be the right one, then we focus on the right things. (2) He quoted Dumbledore from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (which is freakin’ awesome), saying that it is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. (3) If you know who you are, you know who Heavenly Father is.

Overall, although very crowded and cramped, I enjoyed the conference. I met a few new people, became better friends with others, did some service, learned some things in general and about myself, and felt the Spirit. I’m glad I went. There’s another one in November in San Antonio. Who’s with me?

Sunday, September 06, 2009

August--See a Musical

So, remember how awhile back, June was supposed to be to see a play/musical? Well, I couldn't find any good ones then, so I had given up on that goal. But, my awesome friends decided to go up to Oklahoma to see Wicked in August! YAY! I was going to do something else as well, but August got pretty crazy, so seeing a musical was all I got to do.

Wicked was awesome! I have the soundtrack and have listened to it many times before. I also have seen it... um sort of. Don't ask me how I got it, because I honestly don't remember who gave it to me, but I saw a pirated copy of Wicked (someone recorded the New York Broadway version). The pirated version is ok, you know apart from the 5 minutes of blank screen with sound when I'm assuming an usher came by and they had to put the camera down. But, seeing it live was amazing, and there were no blank periods (although the zoom feature used in the pirated copy was a plus, we were kind of far away).

There's not much I could say about the actual musical, but being in Oklahoma was interesting. It's an odd state. We were driving along en route to Tulsa, and we pass a sign saying that it's a toll road and that the toll is 25 cents. We gather our change and drive and drive and drive. We drove another 15 miles or so until we finally reached the tollbooth and then BOOM! it's two dollars! We were really scrounging around for change then. There were odd signs like: "Do Not Drive Into Smoke." Is it really that much of a problem that there needs to be a sign?

There there were odd stores like this:

Yeah... awkward. But other then that, it was nice to get away. The drive was very peaceful, and the scenery was pretty. It was a fun trip, and I'm glad I went. All in all, seeing Wicked live was definitely worth the 4 hour drive, the weird hotel guy (that's another story for another time), and the odd signs and stores. Everyone should go see it!

(Wicked photos courtesy of Aibi and Erica.)